Thomas J. Pingel
Associate Professor, Department of Geography
225 Wallace Hall, Virginia Tech
Dr. Thomas Pingel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech. He directs the Near Earth Imaging Lab, is co-Director of the Geospatial and Environmental Analysis (GEA) interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, is a core faculty member at the Center for Environmental Analytics and Remote Sensing, and is a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program in Remote Sensing. Dr. Pingel earned his Ph.D. from and completed a post-doc at the Geography Department at the University of California Santa Barbara. He is a past-president of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society and the AAG Cartography Specialty Group, and is a Cartographic Editor for the Journal of Maps.
Dr. Pingel's research interests broadly include Geographic Information Science, Remote Sensing, Geocomputation, and Spatial Analysis. Most of his work these days focuses on point cloud processing and visualization - both lidar and UAV-derived Structure from Motion (SfM). He is the author of the Simple Morphological Filter (SMRF), the ground filtering algorithm used in PDAL and for the Microsoft Planetary Computer hosted 3DEP digital terrain models (DTMs).
Other projects include indoor mapping and lidar perception, the development of 3D printed terrain maps and augmented reality interfaces, VR-immersive lidar classification systems, machine and deep learning approaches to classification, geomorphometry, and terrain-based least-cost path analysis. His work has been applied to problems in climate change, forestry, hazards, hydrology, and archaeology.
Dr. Pingel teaches courses in spatial analysis, geovisualization, geospatial algorithms, advanced topics in remote sensing, and terrain analysis, and hosts undergraduate and graduate student researchers in the Near Earth Imaging Lab.